The Paly Voice

Baseball cruises by Mountain View, 13-0

Grant Raffel, Author

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Christian Lonsky follows through on a triple to deep center field in the fourth inning. The Vikings went on to win the game 13-0. – Grant Raffel

The Palo Alto High School baseball team (5-3, 2-0) has hit its stride as it enters the heart of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League season with an impressive 13-0 victory over the visiting Mountain View High School, improving on its league-opening 11-0 victory on Wednesday against the same team.

The Vikings dominated Mountain View in all aspects of the game, backing a strong pitching performance by junior Kevin Kannappan with an offensive explosion. Despite a rough start to the season, losing three of its first four games, Palo Alto has gained some momentum, winning its last four straight by a combined score of 51-1. The Vikings beat Santa Cruz High School, 13-0, Scotts Valley High School, 14-1, and Mountain View by a score of 11-0.

“I thought the effort was very good,” assistant coach Dave Goldman said. “There was no letdown after winning big on Wednesday. The best thing is, we were able to get everybody in, so everyone had a chance to play. That’s terrific for early in the season.”

Kannappan pitched four scoreless innings, allowing only four hits and two walks while striking out one.

“Initially, I started out with fastballs,” Kannappan said. “And then I got to use my offspeed [pitches] as the game went along, and they all felt perfect. I just felt comfortable and pounded the strike zone.”

The Vikings opened the scoring in the third inning on a fluke play. Senior third baseman Drake Swezey was at third base and suffered a lapse of concentration, walking home after senior centerfielder Christoph Bono drew a walk at the plate. However, first base was empty and Swezey was not forced home. The Mountain View catcher threw to third in an attempt to pick off Swezey, but the throw sailed and Swezey easily advanced home to score the game’s first run. Paly added two more runs that inning.

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Junior Christian Lonsky lead off with a triple in the fourth inning, and junior Jack Witte hit him in with a single. “I was just trying to keep it on the right side,” Lonsky said, referring to his triple. “They were throwing it a little softer than usual so I was trying to stay back.”

The Vikings then loaded the bases with just one out, but senior leftfielder Cory Tenanes grounded out in an inning-ending double play.

Lonsky added an RBI single in the Vikings’ nine-run fifth inning. Witte hit in three of the runs when he hit a triple to clear the bases.

“We hit a lot at practice,” Witte said. “We probably hit more than any other team, so any time I see a fastball, we just like to bang fastballs. I had two strikes, so I was just trying to get a piece of it.”

Mountain View walked a total of seven batters in the fifth, helping Palo Alto’s cause and putting the game out of Mountain View’s reach.

Kannappan, Lonsky and Witte all expressed satisfaction with the lack of errors. The Vikings limited their fielding mistakes to just one for the entire game, after having trouble in the field in previous games.

“Any game when you [limit] errors, you’re going to have a good chance of winning,” Lonsky said.

Junior Austin Braff made his debut for Paly baseball and drew an RBI walk. He just enrolled in classes at Paly this semester.

“It’s good to have Ozzie [Austin Braff] out there–he just got cleared,” Witte said.

The Vikings used senior Sam Maliska, junior Arun Varma and junior Clay Carey in relief of Kannapan.

Palo Alto’s next game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on March 16 at home against Cupertino High School.

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